My hands smell

like softball clay

that rough dark orange

of elementary fall after school

and weekend days.

I played softball because

my mother played softball

my favorite part

was receiving

the ball in the mitt

soft leather we rubbed in oil

and put in the oven

the way the ball flew through the air

after I swung and it connected with a pitch

the round arc and running

feeling my stomach

my feet

my legs running

“scoring a point”

doing as I was instructed

how my palms changed color

and I would sweat.

My helmet with the guard

standing at third base

or behind home plate, squatting

thirsty, hot, & alive.

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